Virtual Vacation to Jordan: Is this the new normal?

As I look at the calendar this morning, I’m reminded of why I had this whole week blocked off: I was to be a part of a group from Canada and the U. S. building a house in Amman, Jordan, through Habitat for Humanity. The trip was cancelled before we had even heard of COVID-19 and how life, at least in my hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee, has been changed for now and perhaps forever. Actually the trip was called off for another reason: a drone strike in Iraq (a country bordering Jordan) killed 10 people including Qasem Soleimani, an Iranian major general. Later, and unrelated to the drone strike, Habitat International called off all builds after WHO declared the coronavirus a global pandemic. So, my trip to Jordan was doomed for many reasons.

It was not until I read Day 3 of lock down, Day 1 of curfew by eswini that I knew the extent of the government-imposed isolation for residents of Amman. And I knew that staying at home in Knoxville with my loved ones close by was preferable to being in a country where I knew very few people.

Amman from the Rooftop
Used by permission of eswini in Help in Corona Times: Rooftop Aerobics

So, join me in a Virtual Vacation to Jordan by connecting with bloggers who have traveled the world and shared the places they’ve seen through their posts. For a while, I guess, this may be the new normal of traveling internationally. (And thanks to Kirilson Photography for granting permission to use the photo at the top — Camels at Petra — from Happy New Year from Petra & Wadi Rum. )

First Stop: You may be able to understand my feeling of loss over a missed travel opportunity when you see pictures like this one — Monastery at Petra. This lovely photo and other equally stunning ones, can be found in Cathy Birdsong Dutchak’s wander.essence. She has a good mix of tourist site pictures as well as colorful takes of local people, markets, and gathering places. The grandeur of her photos in call to place: jordan in 2011 definitely make this post a good first visit on your virtual tour.

Monastery at Petra
Used by permission of Cathy Birdsong Dutchak in call to place: jordan in 2011

Next, sift through the superb photos in the Jordan gallery by Tina R. Schell, author of Travels and Trifles: Exposing Thought Through Photography and host of Lens-Artists Challenges one week a month. Tina’s images of Petra and Wadi Rum exalt the beauty of the natural and built environments. One of my favorites: a magnificent view of a cart passing through the siq.

Petra 3
Used by permission of Tina Schell of Travels and Trifles

If you’re a real tourist in Petra, you get a reward for your trek through the gorge: a glimpse of The Treasury of Petra. Self-taught photographer Marcus Puschmann (Streets of Nuremberg) captured this dramatic glimpse and posted it in wide format on Jordan explored — Petra. Even a virtual traveler can tell that that one peep can heighten the drama of seeing this UNESCO World Heritage Site as you move toward a full-blown view of this unbelievable creation.

View of Petra’s Treasury from the siq.
Photo used by permission of Marcus Puschmann, author of Jordan explored — Petra.

Puschmann also gives us one of the best night-time photos of The Treasury in Jordan explored — Petra by Night. When you see this grand photo, you may be more than willing to pay extra to be there at nightfall.

Night View of the Treasury at Petra
Used by permission of Marcus Puschmann in “Jordan explored — Petra at Night”

For more of Puschmann’s Jordan, head over to Streets of Nuremberg: Jordan explored — Kerak Castle. You’ll find much to love about his photography (and Kerak, too), especially this black and white of the stable for the Knight’s Horses. This photo reveals how Puschmann pulls viewers into his scenes with his ability to capture depth of field and limitless space.

Stable for the Knight’s Horses
Used with permission from Marcus Puschmann in Jordan explored — Kerak Castle.

Away from the tourist sites and monuments, I look for markets and food and sellers that cater to locals. Evidently, Amman has more than enough from which buyers can choose, unless, of course, the new coronavirus curfew has cut off even these necessities of life. Paul of Notes from Camelid Country offers bands of colorful produce in this photo from 24 hours in Amman.

Bins of colorful produce in downtown Amman.
Photo used by permission of Notes from Camelid Country: 24 Hours in Amman

And Notes from Camelid Country also shares unique street food that looks too good to resist — all in Jordan’s capital city.

Street food in Amman.
Photo used by permission: Notes from Camelid Country

For a colorful post, check out this one filled with interesting wares. James and Terri of Gallivance: Travel Tales with a Twist found lots to admire in Amman’s main shopping district, Al-Husseiny Mosque. In Amman: Jordan’s Lively Heart, they explained: “We started in the souk where you can buy just about anything you need, from clothing to gold to tonight’s dessert!”

Well, heads with scarves staring straight at me certainly grabbed my attention!

From Amman: Jordan’s Lively Heart: “In a Muslim country, where women are expected to dress very conservatively, a headscarf is one of the places where they can express themselves.”

If you’re one to favor an agenda to maximize your time, check out Sending Postcards Home by Nandita and Raga, two Indians currently living in Dublin but traveling the world together. Just published in February 2020, this Travel Blog series on Jordan and the Middle East will have you wishing you were there for a while to match their tour.

And if you ask me, this post just may be the most fun (and the most laid back) shot of Jordan in all this Virtual Vacation tour!

After all that traveling, who wouldn’t want to kick back a little at the Hilton Dead Sea Resort and Spa in Sowayma?
Photo used by permission of Sending Postcards Home.

Strong color and larger-than-life portraits almost jump off the screen in The surprising Street Art of Amman on Notes from Camelid Country: A travel blog from Bolivia to Berlin. I’ve recently come to appreciate the talents of street artists in American cities, but now I’m looking forward to touring Europe and Asia where it seems there’s even more street art to see. Bigger may be better, too: This piece near Paris Square in Amman, measures 30 meters high.

Street Art by Suhaib Attar, Amman, Jordan
Used by permission of Notes from Camelid Country: The Surprising Street Art of Amman

Finally, if you have a little time on your hands and would be interested in a virtual tour of Petra, this YouTube video, Petra 4K/ Jordania #8 , takes you step by step through the siq to the sites you want to see.

Thanks for joining Oh, the Places We See in our first-ever Virtual Vacation. Just as you are, I’m hoping for an end — soon, of course — to the coronavirus and all of our school and business closings, self-quarantines, and social distancing. My heart goes out to those who are victims of this global pandemic, and my thanks go to the medical professionals and good neighbors working to make life better for all.

Child running from horses in the gorge at Petra, but it reminds me of trying to stay ahead of the virus!
Used by permission of Kirilson Photography: Happy New Year from Petra & Wadi Rum

Thanks to the following writers and photographers contributing to this tour:

Stay healthy and safe,


14 thoughts on “Virtual Vacation to Jordan: Is this the new normal?

  1. CompassAndCamera

    So sorry to hear about your trip cancellation. Really enjoyed your tour through the eyes of fellow travel bloggers. Was considering Egypt and Jordan for this October, but we’ll see what happens. Enjoy the weekend!

  2. Green Global Trek

    Wonderful that you were going to participate in a Habitat for Humanity build. So sorry to read about the cancellation of your trip and as you say, we will now all need to be content with virtual travel. The sliver lining is that the earth can perhaps recover while we stop flying, driving as much and generally adding to the fuel fo climate change. Glad you did not go there and get stranded.. and then have to stress to get back home. Stay safe and healthy in these difficult times.


  3. Stirling Davidson

    This hurts Patricia and I were so looking forward to this trip. This part of the world is so deep with our history, we will get there some day. We are safe and sound today tucked away in the Kootenay’s, still on earth but close to heaven. I am wishing all God Speed through this World event may our faces shine on each other again very soon.

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      It’s sad in many ways that we couldn’t see Jordan together. But no point in putting us all in a precarious situation. Hopefully, we’ll get there. The pictures that others have posted make me want to go even more. Take care of yourselves. ❤️


    Rusha, a virtual tour is a wonderful idea, and this excellent post will be a great source of information and an enticement for those that haven’t managed to make it to Jordan. Sorry that your trip was cancelled, but given all the uncertainties it’s probably for the best. Thanks for including us in the post. And BTW, you’re obviously taking your new theme out for a spin, and it shows. Very well done! Stay safe and well. ~James

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Thanks for your kind words. I’m trying to get back into the swing of things, and, as it turns out, I do have more time on my hands now that I’m quarantined. Making the most of sad times, I suppose. Wishing you all the best. Thanks for your continued praise and inspiration.

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